Even when you’re trailing behind, running for president is fun. Anybody who doesn’t believe that either doesn’t love politics or has never been out on the trail. There are parades and fairs, new friends and old reunions, intense drama and ridiculous comedy; but the fun begins to dissipate as the weather starts to cool and decisions get harder for voters and candidates alike. For candidates lagging behind, autumn will come in like a lion and they will leave the campaign like lambs.

Seemingly every week, new Democrats declare themselves for president. Many people fret, but why? The field is perfect. If only the Democrats could assemble their nominee like Voltron, bringing the best parts together in a single form. Democrats have candidates with outsider freshness, longtime experience, prosecutorial vigor, charming wit, leadership chops and big policy ideas.

But we don’t get to assemble our candidate like the perfect plate from a pu pu platter. Democrats will have to choose between imperfect choices. Experience makes outsiders wary of establishment conservatism. Youth and freshness worry older voters looking for stability. Big progressive ideas worry moderates in the market for a return to normalcy. Radical optimism and outsider thinking make partisan warriors wary of ideological mushiness.

 

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